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[Conference Session CFP] Visualizing Emotions in the Past

Below please find details for a panel that I am organizing for the North American Chapter for the History of Emotions (NACHEmotions) second biennial conference, to be held at George Mason University on June 5-6, 2020 (

If you are interested in participating, please contact me directly at or before June 1.

Visualizing Emotions in the Past

Scholars agree that emotions are culturally specific. A natural extension of this conclusion is that depictions of emotions are also culturally specific. Many contemporary images and signs, such as emojis, demonstrate the degree to which people use the face and facial expressions to represent emotions today. But emotions are visually expressed in many other ways as well, and the ability to recognize emotions in imagery can hinge on familiarity with a culture and its iconography, which makes studying emotions in past imagery particularly challenging. This panel seeks to explore ways in which different cultures have visualized emotions by bringing together papers from multiple historical fields in a comparative framework. In doing this, we will examine how emotions are encoded and embedded into visual and material culture, consider the affective nature of imagery and the different responses of past and present viewers, and question how imagery might reflect historical conceptions of emotions.

Please send questions and proposals to Tara Prakash (